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Cognitive Pretesting of Housing Insecurity Module of the American Housing Survey

Working Paper Number 2019-08
Matthew Virgile, Dave Tuttle, Jonathan Katz, Rodney Terry, Jessica Graber
Component ID: #ti1765486542

Abstract

At the request of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), staff from the Center for Behavioral Science Methods (CBSM) cognitively pretested new survey questions about Housing Insecurity, which will be administered in a one-time follow-up survey with select households after completing the 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS). It included several questions about "Affordability" (e.g., questions on respondents’ difficulty affording their home and necessities), "Stable Occupancy" (e.g., questions on forced or voluntary moves and temporary housing situations), and "Decent & Safe" (e.g., questions on home conditions and safety).

Results of 15 cognitive interviews conducted during August 2018 include the following: 1) some respondents were visibly upset by one or more questions about Affordability, or indicated later in the interview that this section was particularly sensitive; 2) respondents living with any nonrelatives had difficulty answering Affordability questions for their household and could only answer for themselves, since they lacked financial knowledge about their housemates or roommates; 3) some respondents who had recently moved from their previous home indicated that Stable Occupancy questions about hardship-related reasons for moving were burdensome, since they had no applicable reasons for moving.

 

 

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